Rayne Brown appointed co-chiar of House Appropriations Subcommittee
Entering her second term representing N.C. House District 81, Rep. Rayne Brown is ready for a very busy 2013.
Following her swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 9, Brown (R-Davidson) will get to work on a couple of key issues facing the state, as well as acclimating herself to a newly appointed position. With two years in Raleigh under her belt, Brown is feeling much more comfortable as a state legislator. The General Assembly will meet for the first time in 2013 on Jan. 30.
"I didn't know what I was stepping into last year," Brown said. "By the time I got there in January I already was a few months behind. When I go in there on the 30th I'm going to feel a whole lot better than I did last year. I know the work we've got to do and I'm more prepared for it. It's a good feeling."
On Dec. 21, Brown was announced as a co-chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government. Brown joins Rep. George Cleveland (R-Onslow) as a co-chair to a committee that oversees general government, natural resources and corrections programs and agencies. Brown said the chance to work with Cleveland on a slightly smaller budget is something she's comfortable with.
"It's not a huge budget but it affects a lot of different agencies and how they're going to budget for the next year," said Brown. "We're going to look at their appropriations and the efficiency of those operations. There's a lot to it. It's a smaller budget and I think I'm going to enjoy dealing with those sums of money. It's not billions and billions of dollars. It's taking a smaller view of things.
"[Cleveland] is a joy to work with. He's real refreshing and we work well together. I'm excited about it."
House Speaker Thom Tillis said Brown was an ideal candidate for the job.
"Rayne Brown cares deeply about her constituents and our citizens," Tillis said. "She has developed a reputation in the House for setting important priorities. As a leading voice on general government issues, Rep. Brown will help ensure that state government continues to function efficiently and effectively."
Once the General Assembly begins its new session, Brown said two key issues will be discussed — Obamacare and unemployment insurance. Brown said Obamacare, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2014, is raising concerns among legislators because there are too many questions and not enough answers. Key concerns are how the program will be funded and who will run it.
"They can't answer our questions," said Brown. "I am not in favor of increasing the Medicaid roles in the state. We've got to decide if we're going to do an exchange in conjunction with the federal government or if we're going to increase the Medicaid roles. I don't know which way we're going. I don't like either of those alternatives but we're going to have to deal with it. When you have a government that is passing down mandates that can't even answer your questions, it's kind of scary."
Despite a decrease in the unemployment rate, North Carolina still must settle up with the federal government after borrowing more than $2.5 billion the past few years to pay unemployment insurance. How the state addresses this debt is another area of concern.
"The unemployment rate has dropped some, but we've still got a lot of work to do," Brown said. "It's hard to overcome a federal government that passes things down to you and all they have to do is print money or borrow it. We've actually got to balance our budget in the states. We have to work with it and do the best we can."
In her second term Brown said she wants to meet her personal promises such as eminent domain legislation and House Bill 491, Repeal State Capital Facilities Finance Act. In Brown’s first term she served as vice chairman of the House Committee on Health and Human Services and chaired the House Select Committee on Early Childhood Education Improvement.
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or firstname.lastname@example.org.